Why Travel To the National Butterfly Center to See A Texan Crescent Butterfly?

Texan crescent butterfly (male) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

That visit? Amazing! Nancy, John and I travelled from Georgia to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Standing there, just a mile or two from the border wall with Mexico? A never to be forgotten experience. I loved it. It was my first visit to the NBC. I was in a benign kind of shock. There we were, Christmas week, with temperatures sometimes in the low 90’s, and butterflies new to me there, and there, and almost . . . everywhere.

Yes I’ve seen much in my life, and travelled some. How many butterflies seen? Who knows? 200,000? This Texan Crescent, the Red Rim, that Erato Heliconian, the Mexican Bluewing, plus the Julia Heliconian, Fatal Metalmark, adds to those the Tropical Leafwing, a gorgeous Common Mestra . . . all the way to the world’s most beautiful Malachite butterfly and many Skipper butterflies new to me. I was in a state of euphoria not often enjoyed.

Back home, my family never opens these 900+ posts, friends don’t either and my last home, with its 2-year old 303 Garden, that was often a crowded freeway of butterflies, it never had a single person request to have a look at it. That I’m a seasoned guy now, helps, for I accept. Accept much. Nearly all possess no interest in all of this, are hardened to their milieu, their daily life spaces. Getting down to it, I sent kids to some of the USA’s ‘top’ schools, and now, they never visit here?

Why travel to see a Texan Crescent? This Texan Crescent? If you’re here, right here, I applaud you, and a gold star should definitely be issue/awarded to you, for you are 1) an Esthete and 2) one way or another appreciate the infinite beauty G-d has created.

Jeff

2 Lower Rio Grande Valley Female LunchGoers

Pavon Emperor Butterfly on the left and Queen Butterfly on the right photographed by Jeff Zablow at Bensten State Park, Mission, TX

It was lunchtime at Bensten-Rio Grande State Park in the LRGV (Lower Rio Grande Valley) of Texas, a handful of miles from the Mexican border. John beckoned me over to see a butterfly I’d never seen before. Those 5 days, Christmas Week, were . . . amazing. In New York, in Pittsburgh and in Georgia, the last week of December? Zero butterflies. Here in the LRGV, many, many butterflies, with many rare and not often seen, or nearly never seen.

Looked up into that tree, and Bingo!! John had been there before, and he’d seen the butterfly on the left/center, a female Pavon Emperor. And lookee there, on the upper right, a feasting female Queen butterfly.

I’ve now met 4 Emperor butterflies: the Hackberry Emperor, the Tawny Emperor, the Empress Leila and now the Pavon Emperor.

Christmas week in the LRGV? Oh My Goodness! Sunny and in the high 80’s Fahrenheit, and what, thousands of butterflies?

Jeff

Upon First Seeing A Malachite

Malachite butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

It was Christmas week, when my friends pointed out my first and only encounter with this Malachite butterfly.

It was so so fresh, its colors vivid and it was calm, remaining where it was for Oh! nearly 25 minutes. Me? I considered whether or not G-d sent this Gem there, for reward for I am not sure what?

I shot away, from different angles, there in that darkened understory of The National Butterfly Center trail, we in Mission, Texas near the border wall with Mexico.

I ask that you compose a short Ode to Malachite.

Would you do that for us?

Jeff

A Private Room In Tiffany’s Flagship Store

Malachite Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

That’s what this meeting this Malachite Butterfly felt like. We were in the National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, Texas near the border wall. There were few people there that morning, Christmas week, 2017. We were on a trail, and someone approached and told us that there was a Malachite, resting on a lower trail, in good shade. The three of us quickly found it, and I was stunned by its beauty. Stunned. A few others came shortly after, and at least 2 people, frequent visitors to the NBC, said that it was the freshest one they’d ever seen. Big smile, for that!

I view this image once again, and I think, seeing this Malachite, spectacular as it is, is akin to us entering Tiffany’s flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue with the CEO of Tiffany’s rushing to the front of the huge store to meet us, and we are escorted to a posh private viewing room, and she proudly shows us their finest baubles, brought from their solid safe, she awaiting our approval after each broach, ring, necklace, pin, bracelet is reviewed. In the 1980’s I experienced much success, and this, earlier in my life, would not have been impossible.

That’s how moved I was by the Malachite, it more beautiful than anything that the House of Cartier had ever attempted to fashion.

Would that Barbara Ann, Nancy, Kelly, Phil, Laura, Virginia, Deepthi, Cathy, Leslie, Jim, Beth, Kenne, Sandra or you, were there . . . Jeff